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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Monday, December 29, 2014

America's Long Indian Wars: The Final Chapter

This Day in History: December 29, 1890 

How did it begin, this hate for the Indian nation? They were, after all, native to America well before the arrival of the "white man." It was many thousands of years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus ships that a different group of people inhabited America: the nomadic ancestors of modern Native Americans. This, in fact, occurred more than 12,000 years ago when a land bridge connected Asia to what is now called Alaska.

So, why so much hatred? Did the so-called savages have no regard for human life? Was the "white man" solely a man of peace? While not all intentions may have been of a peaceful nature, did the savagery not hold true also for the whites? Were the buffalo not slaughtered simply to satisfy the greed of trappers and fur traders, whereas for the Indian, the buffalo was a necessary source for survival? Did Indian beliefs encompass rituals of devil worship and demons or were their beliefs something of a totally different spiritual nature connected to the land and totally misunderstood?

To the disbelief of many, not all American Indians were savages. A proud people humbled by their surroundings fought and died trying to preserve their unique heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. One of the saddest episodes in our history had already occurred (1838) when the Cherokee Nation stripped of their land was herded like cattle and forced to march a thousand miles through the wilderness under horrible conditions. The route they traversed, as well as the journey itself, became known as "The Trail of Tears" or, as a direct translation from Cherokee, "The Trail Where They Cried" (Nunna daul Tsuny.").

Historical Documents: Trail of Tears
By 1890, the armed resistance was over with the last of the Sioux being forced into reservation life at gunpoint. Life for the Indian nation as they new it was over. The only avenue left - spiritual guidance, not a conjuring up of spells and calling upon demonic souls but instead a spiritual awakening among the tribes of North America. Thus, entered the "Ghost Dance."  

Native Americans Online
The Native Americans believe we all have spirits, but while ghosts are generally considered evil spirits, the Ghost Dance Movement embodied hope with visions of the future without whites.

Within the Ghost Dance spiritual movement, thousands of Native Americans only longed to have their land restored and be rid of the white man. Unfortunately, the movement resulted in violence as many innocent Native Americans were slaughtered needlessly. On this day, December 29, 1890, in the final chapter of America's long Indian wars, the U.S. Cavalry kills 146 Sioux (men, women and children) at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. Read MORE. . . 

A Proud People
  Unhealed Wounds

Were their desires
indeed so bad
for the government
to take all they had?

Were their beliefs
indeed so wrong
for them to be stripped
of everything they owned?

How did it begin
this hatred so grave
of a life pure and simple
strong and brave? 

Within these questions
lies few answers
as hated continues
spreading like cancers

While no longer limited
to a single race
the fires still burn
at a rapid pace

Unhealed wounds
seethe beneath the skin
 suppressing real feelings
peace will never win

Sharla Lee Shults